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S04722 Summary:

BILL NOS04722A
 
SAME ASSAME AS A05386-A
 
SPONSORHINCHEY
 
COSPNSRBIAGGI, GAUGHRAN, HARCKHAM, HOYLMAN, KRUEGER, MARTUCCI, MAY, O'MARA, SEPULVEDA, SKOUFIS
 
MLTSPNSR
 
Add Art 11-B §§151-l - 151-o, Ag & Mkts L; amd §§2 & 4, Cons Dists L
 
Establishes the soil health and climate resiliency act; establishes the soil health program to assist farmers in improving the health of their soil; establishes the climate resilient farming initiative to promote and encourage farmers to reduce the effects of farming on climate change and to adapt to and mitigate the impact of climate change by improving and maintaining water management systems and soil health and resiliency.
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S04722 Text:



 
                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
 
                                         4722--A
 
                               2021-2022 Regular Sessions
 
                    IN SENATE
 
                                    February 10, 2021
                                       ___________
 
        Introduced  by Sens. HINCHEY, MAY -- read twice and ordered printed, and
          when printed to be  committed  to  the  Committee  on  Agriculture  --
          committee  discharged,  bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and
          recommitted to said committee
 
        AN ACT to amend the agriculture and markets law and the soil  and  water
          conservation  districts  law,  in  relation  to  establishing the soil
          health and climate resiliency act
 
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
 
     1    Section  1.  This  act  shall  be  known and may be cited as the "soil
     2  health and climate resiliency act".
     3    § 2. The agriculture and markets law is amended by adding a new  arti-
     4  cle 11-B to read as follows:
     5                                ARTICLE 11-B
     6                     SOIL HEALTH AND CLIMATE RESILIENCY
     7  Section 151-l. Definitions.
     8          151-m. Soil health initiative.
     9          151-n. Climate resilient farming initiative.
    10          151-o. Soil health research.
    11    § 151-l. Definitions.  As used in this article: 1. "Soil health" means
    12  soils that have the continuing capacity to function as a  vital,  living
    13  ecosystem    that  sustains plants, animals, and humans. The benefits of
    14  healthy soil include: supporting the production of  food,  feed,  fiber,
    15  and fuel; facilitating infiltration, storage and filtration of water and
    16  protecting  water quality; enhanced nutrient-holding capacity and nutri-
    17  ent cycling; providing habitat  for  diverse  soil  organisms;  enhanced
    18  resilience   to   drought,  extreme  precipitation  events,  temperature
    19  extremes, pests, diseases and  other  stresses;  breaking  down  harmful
    20  chemicals;  reducing  agricultural impacts on, and mitigating the impact
    21  on agriculture of, global climate change; and  sequestering  carbon  and
    22  net long-term greenhouse gas benefits.
 
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD05460-08-1

        S. 4722--A                          2
 
     1    2.  "Soil  health  practices"  means  agricultural and land management
     2  practices that improve the function of soils through actions that follow
     3  the principles of: minimizing soil disturbance  from  soil  preparation;
     4  maximizing soil vegetation cover; maximizing the diversity of beneficial
     5  soil  organisms;  maximizing  presence  of living roots; and integrating
     6  animals into land management; and in support of such principles, include
     7  such practices  as  conservation  tillage  or  no-till,  cover-cropping,
     8  precision nitrogen and phosphorous application, planned rotational graz-
     9  ing,  integrated  crop-livestock systems, agroforestry, perennial crops,
    10  integrated pest management,  nutrient  best  management  practices,  and
    11  those  practices recommended by the United States Department of Agricul-
    12  ture Natural Resources Conservation Service and that  are  supported  by
    13  the state soil and water conservation committee.
    14    §  151-m.  Soil  health  initiative. 1. The department, in cooperation
    15  with the state soil and water conservation committee, and other partners
    16  working on soil health shall encourage agricultural producers in  urban,
    17  suburban  and  rural  communities  to improve and maintain the health of
    18  farm soils by: managing and optimizing soil health to mitigate and adapt
    19  to climate change, and improve water quality while improving  long  term
    20  soil  productivity, efficiency, resiliency and profitability of farming;
    21  ensuring that soil is conserved as a living ecosystem managed to provide
    22  nutrients for the growth of agricultural plants and animals and a  heal-
    23  thy,  affordable  food supply; and addressing such environmental impacts
    24  from farm operations, including, but not limited to absorbing and  hold-
    25  ing rainwater for use during dry periods, filtering and buffering poten-
    26  tial  pollutants  from leaving fields, improving climate resiliency, and
    27  providing habitat for beneficial soil microbes to flourish and  diversi-
    28  fy.  Such  improvement and maintenance shall account for the differences
    29  in soils in different regions of the state.  The department shall  coor-
    30  dinate  the  soil health initiative with the agricultural  environmental
    31  management program established in article eleven-A of this  chapter  and
    32  section eleven of the soil and water conservation districts law.
    33    2.  The department shall encourage soil health practices that include,
    34  but shall not be limited to:
    35    (a) improving, enhancing, or  otherwise  maximizing  soil  health  and
    36  quality, and minimizing soil erosion and sedimentation;
    37    (b)  improving,  enhancing, or otherwise maximizing water infiltration
    38  rates and water holding capacities of soils  for  improved  storm  water
    39  management  and  flood  control,  drought  resilience,  and  groundwater
    40  supply; and
    41    (c) managing and enhancing the healthy  cycling  of  nutrients  within
    42  fields, to minimize nutrient runoff and reduce downstream nutrient load-
    43  ing,  improve  watershed health and reliable water availability, restore
    44  and enhance wildlife habitat, and manage water runoff and drainage water
    45  for improved local and downstream water quality.
    46    3. The department, in  the  development  of  efforts  to  promote  and
    47  encourage  soil health, shall conduct public virtually accessible stake-
    48  holder meetings and provide opportunity for written public  comment  and
    49  consult  with  stakeholders,  as appropriate, including, but not limited
    50  to: the state soil and water conservation committee, the  department  of
    51  environmental  conservation,  agricultural  producers  including histor-
    52  ically marginalized  producers,  not-for-profit  conservation  organiza-
    53  tions,  environmental  protection  organizations including environmental
    54  justice,  the  United  States  Department  of   Agriculture's   National
    55  Resources  Conservation Services, the New York state college of agricul-
    56  ture and life sciences established in section fifty-seven hundred twelve

        S. 4722--A                          3

     1  of the education law  including  Cornell  Cooperative  Extension,  other
     2  institutions  of  higher  education  in  New  York state working on soil
     3  health, and any other organization designated by the commissioner.
     4    4.  The  department,  in  cooperation  with  the  state soil and water
     5  conservation committee, the New York state college  of  agriculture  and
     6  life  sciences  established in section fifty-seven hundred twelve of the
     7  education law, and with input from other organizations with expertise in
     8  soil health and regional  stakeholders,  shall  establish    appropriate
     9  voluntary  standards and objectives for soil health and quality, reflec-
    10  tive of the different geographic regions, soil types, and farming  oper-
    11  ations.  Such  standards  should  include  soil  quality  indicators for
    12  biological, physical, and chemical properties of soil  and  reflect  the
    13  latest scientific advancements.
    14    §  151-n.  Climate resilient farming initiative. 1. The department, in
    15  cooperation with the state soil and water  conservation  committee,  and
    16  other  partners  working  on  climate  resilient farming shall encourage
    17  agricultural producers in  urban,  suburban  and  rural  communities  to
    18  reduce  the effects of farming on climate change, such as greenhouse gas
    19  emissions, and adapt to and mitigate the impact  of  climate  change  by
    20  improving  and  maintaining water management systems and soil health and
    21  resiliency.
    22    2. The department shall promote best management practices for  climate
    23  mitigation  and  soil  resiliency,  as  informed by state policy, by the
    24  United States Department of Agriculture Natural  Resources  Conservation
    25  Service  Field  Office  Technical Guide and by research conducted by New
    26  York state institutions of  higher  education  with  expertise  in  soil
    27  health,  and  approved by the New York state soil and water conservation
    28  committee.
    29    3. The department  shall  coordinate  the  climate  resilient  farming
    30  initiative with the agricultural environmental management program estab-
    31  lished  in  article  eleven-A  of this chapter and section eleven of the
    32  soil and water conservation districts law.
    33    § 151-o. Soil health research. The commissioner shall  make  available
    34  practical  information from soil health research to agricultural produc-
    35  ers in urban, suburban and rural communities with goals  to:    continue
    36  accelerating the percentage of farmers who actively utilize best manage-
    37  ment practices to foster soil health and resiliency; and, promote scien-
    38  tific understanding of soil health and carbon sequestration with various
    39  farming practices, including but not limited to no-till, cover cropping,
    40  managed  grazing,  perennial  pasture,  and precise application of added
    41  nutrients to achieve nitrous oxide emissions reduction.
    42    § 3. Subdivision 2 of section 2 of the  soil  and  water  conservation
    43  districts  law  is  renumbered  subdivision 3 and a new subdivision 2 is
    44  added to read as follows:
    45    (2) Promotion of soil health and resiliency. It  is  further  declared
    46  the  policy  of  the legislature to promote the health and resiliency of
    47  New York's agricultural soils, including the biological,  physical,  and
    48  chemical  components  of  such soils, to sustain agricultural plants and
    49  animals, produce a healthy,  affordable  food  supply,  promote  climate
    50  resilient farming and the reduction of agricultural greenhouse gas emis-
    51  sions, and further protect and promote natural resources and the health,
    52  safety and welfare of the people of this state.
    53    §  4.  Paragraph i of subdivision 4 of section 4 of the soil and water
    54  conservation districts law, as added by chapter 136 of the laws of 2000,
    55  is amended and a new paragraph j is added to read as follows:

        S. 4722--A                          4
 
     1    i.  To  coordinate  and  approve  the  participation  of  the  several
     2  districts  in  the  AEM  program as set forth in article eleven-A of the
     3  agriculture and markets law[.];
     4    j.  To  coordinate  and  approve  the  participation  of  the  several
     5  districts in support of soil health and climate resilient farming as set
     6  forth in article eleven-B of the agriculture and markets law.
     7    § 5. This act shall take effect July 1, 2021.
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